What Is Dedicated MRI, and Why Does It Matter to Patient Care?

Innovation in the field of Diagnostic imaging technology has continued to advance over recent years, and with this brings more solutions and services accessible to Clinicians that allow for Radiology Departments, Imaging Centers, and In-Office facilities to expand the range of tools used to diagnose and care for their patient population.

 The use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in patient care management & clinical practice is recognized as providing diagnostic value in many clinical areas, allowing the clinician to rapidly diagnose a condition and then move to the most effective form of treatment.

Over time, Conventional MRI systems – long, closed-bore, large infrastructure devices – have become the main way that patients are imaged for their examination.

However, like many industries and technologies, it has become recognized that using a high-cost, over capable device may not be the most relevant or appropriate way to image a patient for their clinical requirements.

Dedicated MRI devices are designed and specified to provide a specific MRI examination that meets a patient’s requirement. 

The use of MRI imaging can provide better pathology visualization, localization accuracy and with excellent image quality, the benefits to the patient can impact the care provided. Therefore, a Dedicated MRI is designed to scan Musculo-skeletal areas – joints. Or the Spine, Hips, and extremities.

In addition, techniques that cannot be imaged on a Conventional MRI, but that benefit patients, can be achieved on dedicated MRI thanks to the structures of these systems. These being Weight-Bearing techniques and real time joint-motion techniques.

Added to this, the design of Dedicated MRI systems can provide an effective solution for MRI Imaging at locations where patient can gain easier access, such as in-office locations, The design features that allow this would be:

  • Space saving design & footprint for installation
  • Lower Energy consumption, compared to high-field MRI
  • Access to latest imaging techniques
  • Total project management by the MRI vendor, including OEM service
  • No requirements for Helium & other consumables

The nature of the MRI magnet design is that it is much smaller, more open, and therefore easier to position a patient for their examination. This means the exam for the patient is not, or less, claustrophobic, more comfortable by being an ‘open’ design, allow the patient to sit comfortably for some exams, and even have a care-support person accompany them for the exam in the MRI room.

In the world of technology that exists today, it has been commonplace to have many devices and products to do specific and dedicated functions. It would not be considered appropriate to use a complex Cardiac Interventional X-Ray system to take an X-ray of a wrist injury. And therefore, why are there still considerations that large, complex, and often over-capacity Conventional MRI systems would be the best solution for imaging extremities & the spine. Use of Conventional MRI could limit patient access and ability to provide a relevant MRI examination, at the time and cost that the patient needs.

Overall, Dedicated MRI is designed to address access to MRI – both for Clinicians and for Patients. Considering the analogy that you would not use a rocket-car to do the school run, using a Conventional MRI can limit a patient access to a relevant MRI examination, at the time and cost they need the procedure. 

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